General Entomology

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EEB 4250 - General Entomology

Fall 2019

Day/Time: Tuesday+Thursday Lecture 12:30-1:20 Lab 1:30 3:30
Place: Storrs campus, Torrey Life Sciences Room 313
Credits: 4
Instructor: David Wagner

Torrey Life Sciences Rm 471
860-486-2139 and 860-942-1796 (cell)
Office hours: 10 MWF and as available

TA: Kevin Keegan

Torrey Life Sciences Rm 461
Office hours: as available (email for appointment)


  • Borror, DJ and RE White, 1970. Peterson Field Guide to Insects: America North of Mexico.
  • Gullan, P. J. and P. S. Cranston. 2010. The Insects: An Outline of Entomology. Fourth Ed. Blackwell Science, Oxford, England.


The lectures provide a broad introduction to insect diversity, phylogeny, structure and function, behavior, ecology, and conservation. The laboratory stresses sight identification and natural history of 120 common insect families. The collection requirement connects the lecture and laboratory by linking lecture topics, and especially insect behavior and ecology, to Connecticut’s extraordinary insect fauna.

Course Procedures and Policies

Academic Integrity:
Plagiarism and cheating are violations of the student conduct code, and may be punished by failure in the course or, in severe cases, dismissal from the University. For more information, see Appendix A of the Student Conduct Code.

If you have a disability for which you may be requesting an accommodation, you should contact a course instructor and the Center for Students with Disabilities (Wilbur Cross Building, Room 201) within the first two weeks of the semester.

Syllabus and Course Materials

Item Points
Midterms (100 pts each) 200 pts
Final 175 pts
Collection 300 pts
7 lab quizzes (25 pts each, lowest replaced by Live Insect Project grade), attendance (25 pts) and participation (25 pts) 225 pts
Lab practicum 80 pts
Current events/Speed talks (2 articles) 20 pts
Total 1000 pts

Syllabus and Grading Rubric

Pdficon small.gif Syllabus
Pdficon small.gif Collection Grading Rubric

Collection Materials

Pdficon small.gif Label Template
Pdficon small.gif Collection Excel Sheet
Pdficon small.gif Collection Check #1
Pdficon small.gifOdonate Label Template
Pdficon small.gif Collection Check #2

Other Assignments

Pdficon small.gifLive Insect Project

(The live insect project will take the place of your lowest quiz grade)

Class Schedule

Date Lecture Quiz Lab Readings
August 27 Course overview Wagner Lab visit
Collections Facility
Intro to collections
Pdficon small.gifG+C Chapter 1
Pdficon small.gifB+W pgs 4-29
August 29 Importance of Insects
Pdficon small.gif Lecture outline
Pdficon small.gif Lecture slides
Collecting Practice
Intro to iNaturalist
Pdficon small.gifG+C Chapter 2
Pdficon small.gifThe Joy of Formication
Pdficon small.gifEconomic Value of Insects
September 3 The Diversity of Insects
Alexis gives speed talk on red meat allergy from ticks
Alexela gives speed talk on mantisflies
Quiz 1 Quiz 1: Borror and White pages 4-29
The Insect Orders Pt.1
Pdficon small.gifMost recent Hexapoda phylogeny from Misof et al. (2014) (full paper available here)
September 5 External Anatomy I
Pdficon small.gifExternal Anatomy I-III slides
Nick gives speed talk on Lymantria dispar and Koe gives speed talk on trilobite beetles
The Insect Orders Pt.2 Continue G+C Ch. 2
So Great the Excitement - Alfred Russell Wallace
Bombardier Beetles - Thomas Eisner
September 10 External Anatomy II Quiz 2 - The Insect Orders Pinning Practice
September 12 External Anatomy III External Anatomy: Drawing Grasshoppers Begin G+C Chapter 3
September 17 Internal Anatomy I Internal Anatomy: Dissecting Cockroaches
September 19 Internal Anatomy II
Geologic History I
Non-Insect Arthropods
Aquatics Field Trip
September 24 Geologic History I
Higher Classification of Insects I
Quiz 3 - External and Internal Insect Anatomy Non-Insect Hexapods, Apterygota, Palaeoptera
September 26 First Lecture Midterm Zoraptera, Dermaptera, Plecoptera
October 1 Development and Life Histories Quiz 4 - Non-Insect Arthropods, Non-Hexapod Insects, Apterygota, Paleoptera Dictyoptera, Phasmatodea, Orthoptera
October 3 Nervous System and Sensory Organs I Thysanoptera, Hemiptera I (aquatic)
October 8 Nervous System and Sensory Organs II Collection Check #1 Depauperate Hemimetabola, Hemiptera II
October 10 Nervous System and Sensory Organs III
Insect Behavior
Hemiptera III (Aucheno- and Sternorrhyncha, Fulgoroidea), Psocodea
October 15 Social Insects I Quiz 5 - Dictyoptera-Psocodea (i.e. Hemimetabola) Special Lab Topic: Plant secondary compounds & insect herbivory; greenhouse tour; steam room adventure (bring headlamp)
October 17 Social Insects II,Insects and Plants I Aquatic Ecology Lab
October 22 Second Lecture Midterm Neuropterida (less Coleoptera)
October 24 Special Lecture: Forensic Entomology with Dr. William Krisnky Coleoptera I
October 29 ??? Special Lab Topic: Ghost Moths and Other Scary Insects, Coleoptera II
October 31 Insects and Plants II Special Lab Topic: Silk, Coleoptera III
November 5 Insects and Plants III Trichoptera + Lepidoptera
November 7 Special Lecture: The Hunted And Their Defenses Bug Jeopardy; Mecoptera, Siphonaptera, Diptera I
November 12 Medical and Veterinary Entomology I Quiz 6 - Neuropterida Aquatic Ecology (work on samples)
November 14 Medical and Veterinary Entomology II Diptera II
November 19 Special Lecture: Acoustical Behavior In Insects by Dr. Charles Henry Collection Check #2 Diptera III
November 21 Entomophagous Insects Quiz 7 - Amphiesmenoptera + Mecopteroidea Hymenoptera I
December 3 Insect Control/Pest Management Hymenoptera II
December 5 Insect Conservation Lab Practical Open Lab

Collection Tips
1) Ensure your name is clearly written on all boxes.
2) Please keep your vials in an easy-to-access container.
3) You must hand in a printed spreadsheet (found on the course website) along with your collection. Your name must be on it. The written families should be in the same order as the specimens in your boxes.
4) Don't forget about the ecological labels. Think about them carefully, this is an easy way to make mistakes if you rush.
5) Put the labels in the right order on the pin. Locality label on top, then species label (if needed), then ecological label (if needed), then family label (if it's the first in the row). Labels should be in line with the specimen and take up as little space as possible and still be legible. They should all be facing the same direction.
6) Organization of orders/families within the box is unimportant, as long as it is clear. Try to condense to as few boxes as possible.
7) Remember that the curation guidelines are to ensure that your specimens are "museum ready" - they might be your longest legacy on earth. Think about how beautifully well organized Dave's collection is upstairs, and the main collection next door. Look at your specimens and ask if they are ready to be seamlessly integrated into a museum collection.
8) Don't fret too much about a bad specimen (missing legs, etc) if it's the only one you have. Damaged specimens are still valuable if properly labeled.
9) Moderate trading is encouraged, ideally when both trade partners receive a family/order neither of them have.
10) Some specimens will be taken and added to the main collection (you should take this as a compliment, I had several of my specimens taken). If you have a favorite specimen you are particularly attached to, like something you raised as a pet, leave a note on your spreadsheet and we will try not to take it from you : ).

Some Primo Collecting Locations in Walking Distance of Campus

Field and road edges near W lot on North Side of UConn campus

Pastures along Gurleyville Road on East side of campus

Powerline cut along Hunting Lodge Road on West side of campus

Near Dairy Bar (MANTID HOT SPOT)